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Court ruling restricts wolf-killing and bans cyanide bombs

Cyanide bomb kills Pocatello family dog
File photo of cyanide bomb.

BOISE, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Calling it a "key victory for wildlife," a coalition of conservation groups has finalized an agreement with the Idaho Office of USDA Wildlife Services.  

The agreement sets strict limits on how and where a federal agency can kill wolves in Idaho. It bans the use of M-44 cyanide bombs statewide and prohibits the use of snares to kill wolves on public lands.

The restrictions on snares and M-44 devices will remain in place until the Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services completes a detailed analysis of the environmental impacts of killing wolves.

Western Watersheds Project staff attorney Talasi Brooks said the settlement also blocks Wildlife Services from engaging in lethal activities targeting wolves in wilderness areas throughout Idaho. That will stop aerial gunning of wolves in the upper Clearwater. Conservation groups believe the practice is based on a false narrative that elk declines are due to predation.

"It's a shame that it took the poisoning of a child and the killing of a beloved family dog to get Wildlife Services to put the brakes on M-44 deployment in Idaho," said Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense. "Under this settlement, the tentative moratorium on M-44s in Idaho is locked in, at least until the agency completes a full EIS. We need to ban these indiscriminate poison landmines nationwide before there are
more victims."

Canyon Mansfield, of Pocatello, was 14 when an M-44 device exploded near his home, injuring him and killing his dog.  

Center for Biological Diversity senior attorney Andrea Santasiere says M-44 traps are commonly used to kill coyotes for the livestock industry.

"Cyanide bombs and traps are vicious and indiscriminate, and too often lead to the suffering of nontarget wildlife and pets," said Santarsiere. "This victory is a step forward in reducing the suffering of animals at the hands of our federal government."

The settlement came after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling that dismissed a lawsuit challenging Wildlife Services' statewide wolf-killing program in Idaho.

The conservation groups involved in the lawsuit were Advocates for the West, the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Clearwater, Predator Defense, Western Watersheds Project, and WildEarth Guardians.

You can view the US District Court case below.

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  1. “It bans the use of M-44 cyanide bombs statewide….”
    Let’s hear it for COMMON SENSE! Hopefully the USDA won’t use thermite grenades/surplus claymores as a replacement until THOSE are banned.
    At MY age, anyone socially cognoscitive at all of happenings sees a MULTITUDE of government screw-ups. Regionally, the concept, design, and ‘construction’ of the Teton ‘dam’ will ALWAYS hold first place. However, the USDA ‘Wildlife Services’ use of LAND MINES as a coyote control method is a damned close SECOND. Even in an environment–governmental departments–infamous for laziness/incompetence, M-44’s STAND OUT as egregiously stupid. 🙁

  2. About time they banned M-44s; should have been years ago and in fact, should never have been used in the wild. (Might be usable in places like SF, Detroit, Baltimore, NYC, Chicago, etc.)

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